BHP derails runaway iron ore train

 
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

http://www.mining.com/web/bhp-blames-driver-error-brake-problem-runaway-train-wreck

The headline writer gets to write the headline they have been waiting all fortnight to write.

"Driver Error".

They then go on to spend the rest of the article describing how the safety systems on the train failed.

You just can't have "BHP systems failed" as your headline in the financial press now can you?

The whole idea of having failsafe systems is to overcome any human errors.  Humans can be replaced but failsafe systems that fail are a disaster.  BHP needs to rebuild their systems in a big hurry.

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  iknowstuff Station Staff

Was it ever going to be different, "thou shalt not find fault with the machine"  no matter how obvious. I felt for you Scully!!

Actually does any one know who has dibs on the in cab video of the whole thing, would be a great sequel  "Unstoppable II".
Denzal's at a loose end these days, sure a good deal could be worked out with Holiywood with BHP's clout.

Can't wait for the cartoons to come out in the papers, one has be BHP loco's and consist slowly  rolling down the track with a row of Train Controllers on each side with thin little sticks labelled ATP, ATMS, VIGILANCE, ECP  trying to poke them into the locomotives wheels!
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

I’d just like to quickly apologise for my post earlier as it seems to have upset some people a bit. I had no intention of making misleading contributions to a debate I am not qualified to engage in. I am not an expert and was merely summarising what I read in the article.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
ECP is to my mind a fairly recent technology, as in 10 years, in this country anyway, and this is just a missed detail. Engineering history is full of right place right time one in a million failures. This was just another. Any braking system that can release brakes uncommanded is begging for it.
DBClass
The idea behind the reversion to pneumatic - with the overlay systems such as BHP & Rio Tinto use is to enable the use of the pneumatic mode without waiting for the batteries to run flat. Hence the 2 minute reversion with no BP pressure. 60 minutes is enough time to do what you need to do - but you need to know what you need to do, and that involves training and systems understanding, both things that are sadly lacking in in the Rail industry as compared to others. If BHP's procedures required the driver to dump the air before walking, it shows that someone there had an understanding of the ramifications of not doing so - but there was no redundancy in this. IMHO, not smart.

These air brakes are NOT Westinghouse. They only have a failsafe mechanism that will apply the brakes in an emergency. If the Brake Pipe hose has a sudden reduction in pressure, it dumps, and applies.
These air brakes are built for and ARE EP/ECP.

That is, they are a totally new type of air brake. Westinghouse brakes depend on reduction of air to apply brakes, where as these command via an electric/electronic system using air pressure
F4PhantomRAAF
BHP and Rio Tinto utilize ECP overlay manifolds on their wagons - that is to say without trainline power and a HEU on the network commanding the ECP to cut-in, they run in standard pneumatic mode, responding to BP pressure changes. Incidentally, this is another failure mode of ECP. If an individual wagon loses comm, or is not detected on the network initially, it will run in pneumatic with the train in ECP. The small changes in BP pressure as ECP is applied can cause stuck brakes on that out-of-comm car.

Firstly, I refer back to my earlier post relating to Management of the incident by BHP. It's just beautiful!  Instead of handing the ATSB a pneumatic hose they handed them an Electrical cable. Here is the fault and we found it amongst all the wreckage, or was the disconnect near the end the train?
iknowstuff
Your conspiracy theories are getting a bit old. The datalogger will record ECP faults, including the dreaded "multiple critical loss" alarm, trainline voltage and ECP comm state. One of the first things the driver would likely have reported (based on my experiences of ECP faults over 7 years driving with it) is that I've just had an ECP Emergency, I've stopped at location X, my BP Pressure is intact (Confirms I'm not likely to be in the dirt) and that it looks like the cable's come apart 60 back as the rear 200-odd wagons are showing "out of comm" on the applicable info screen. This will all be on a recorded radio channel, and able to be confirmed with the datalogger.
  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia
So that being the case KRviator what is the reason for the 60 minute time out? If you can dump the BP and wait two minutes to cancel the ECP system, why have the time out? Kind of confused about that. I wasn’t aware you could switch over that easy.

Would they even be able to bring a train of this length in with traditional air brake?

I remeber reading somewhere, I think, that there is a statistic for operable brakes on the ore trains. As in, a train may go out with less then 100% braked wagons. Open for correction.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
So that being the case KRviator what is the reason for the 60 minute time out? If you can dump the BP and wait two minutes to cancel the ECP system, why have the time out? Kind of confused about that. I wasn’t aware you could switch over that easy.

Would they even be able to bring a train of this length in with traditional air brake?

I remeber reading somewhere, I think, that there is a statistic for operable brakes on the ore trains. As in, a train may go out with less then 100% braked wagons. Open for correction.
DBclass
Consider this exact scenario, cable break on the steepest grade. If you dump it, and go to ECP Cutout, you need to recharge the BP to 90PSI (or at least above 80PSI) before you set off again, or you will have no air with which to apply the brakes in pneumatic - a process that can take 10 minutes or more. It sounds like BHP's process was to go to a pneumatic Emergency to prevent the ECP auto-release, apply handbrakes to secure the train and then attend to the fault.

Bringing trains home on normal air isn't a problem, though you do need to plan your stops and your releases compared to ECP, but it isn't a major issue. Every operator has a different %-age of inoperable brakes, in NSW for example it was 10%, not exceeding 10% of the trailing tonnage.
  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia
But where would the time out feature be useful? Could the driver have sat in the cab for an hour and then applied pnenumatic  brake? If the 60 minute cutout feature was eliminated, this wouldn’t have happened. If you were to revert to pneumatic by dumping the BP you would still need to apply handbrakes to recharge safely.

The only scenario the time out feature would be useful I can see is if the wagon was left in a yard and attached later to a train with no ECP. But that would depend on how all that fits together, if the BP is charged with no ECP connection I would assume it acts as normal air brake? A wagon left in a yard would have no BP pressure anyway I would think.

Still think it’s weird.
  M636C Minister for Railways

The only scenario the time out feature would be useful I can see is if the wagon was left in a yard and attached later to a train with no ECP. But that would depend on how all that fits together, if the BP is charged with no ECP connection I would assume it acts as normal air brake? A wagon left in a yard would have no BP pressure anyway I would think.


In general ECP equipped wagons do not have conventional air actuated triple valves.

The ECP valves have an emulation mode which will operate for a limited time under battery power to allow limited transit in non ECP trains. But the wagons are intended to operate only when the ECP data line is connected.


Depending on where the ECP line disconnected a group of wagons would be without power and the one hour time out might be intended to simplify operation of the vehicles not connected to the ECP line.


I assume that one hour was thought to be adequate time to correct a single failure when the system was designed.


Peter
  iknowstuff Station Staff

So the suggestion is that after 60 minutes the train brakes were released instead of transferring to P mode, If the wagon that needed inspection was near the end of the train it would have taken the driver about 45 - 60mins to walk the entire length (2.8kms) and then he has to walk back. I expect the original alarm would have identified the car and therefore an estimated time to get there check & get back would have been approximated.

When the Driver leaves the cab in a situation such as this, what form of protection do the north western railroads have in place for the Driver out of the cab by himself?  For example I would think he takes a radio maybe a satellite radio, and be required to "check in" say every 15 minutes  to Train Control.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

So the suggestion is that after 60 minutes the train brakes were released instead of transferring to P mode, If the wagon that needed inspection was near the end of the train it would have taken the driver about 45 - 60mins to walk the entire length (2.8kms) and then he has to walk back. I expect the original alarm would have identified the car and therefore an estimated time to get there check & get back would have been approximated.

When the Driver leaves the cab in a situation such as this, what form of protection do the north western railroads have in place for the Driver out of the cab by himself?  For example I would think he takes a radio maybe a satellite radio, and be required to "check in" say every 15 minutes  to Train Control.
iknowstuff
P mode?
  M636C Minister for Railways

So the suggestion is that after 60 minutes the train brakes were released instead of transferring to P mode, If the wagon that needed inspection was near the end of the train it would have taken the driver about 45 - 60mins to walk the entire length (2.8kms) and then he has to walk back. I expect the original alarm would have identified the car and therefore an estimated time to get there check & get back would have been approximated.

When the Driver leaves the cab in a situation such as this, what form of protection do the north western railroads have in place for the Driver out of the cab by himself?  For example I would think he takes a radio maybe a satellite radio, and be required to "check in" say every 15 minutes  to Train Control.
iknowstuff
What do you mean by "instead of transferring to P mode"?

It has been indicated earlier that the driver would have a portable radio to stay in contact with control.
There have been a string of radio repeater stations the length of the line since the commencement of operations.
Conventional radios can be used with this system.
There is no mobile phone reception for most of the line.
It seems pretty clear that control did not know about the one hour limit on the ECP brake application.

Peter
  iknowstuff Station Staff

EP Mode

Thanks for clarifying the radio - wanted to know a bit more detail about it. I'll add it to my stuff.

My understanding of the ECP system is that the batteries on the cars are charged from Trainline power. if the Locomotive ECP control unit looses comms (Cable break) with the End of Train unit it initiates an emergency application. The emergency transfers through the Brake Pipe front to rear to the cars disconnected from the Train line which sense the Brake pipe drop. Trainline power is turned off after the emergency application,  now Electro - Pneumatic mode with the ECP overlay mentioned above.

If comms can't be restored after a 2 minute period ECP operation cannot be re-applied and, the disconnected cars from the Train line power remain in Emergency unless / until  they sense a full release pressure in the Brake Pipe.

Contrary to comms loss, if a car(s) looses just Trainline power it uses its battery power which when depleted releases the ECP application. This is a function of its own control and one or two cars in the overall consist is not a big issue. If less than 85% (90% depending on operative mode) of cars are above low battery voltage a penalty brake is applied from the locomotive unit.

The 60 minutes discussed above relates to the deactivation of the EOT unit sending communication acknowledgements after loss of Train line power. So this incident doesn't appear as a broken trainline cable but more like a Train line power issue. If a voltage drop after the mid train locomotives was in occurrence then that would / should have been known. Perhaps the gamble was maybe just less than 40 cars out  

I would believe that the train was pulled up by one of these occurrences above and provides an answer to the earlier questions of why it was stopped on this gradient. I would go further and say that the train ended up with an Emergency stop application primarily, post penalty or timed out.

With Train Brake Control now under the control of the Locomotive's brake rack a failure of the Brake Portion CUT OUT valve or erroneous data or similar could have initiated an uncommanded brake pipe charge hence the release.

Just saying.

I disagree that the Rail industry is worse trained than others, training is defined by the technology and how it is sold.  These and similar type problems exist in every other industry reliant or advanced technology. I'm not saying it right just as it is.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

EP Mode

Thanks for clarifying the radio - wanted to know a bit more detail about it. I'll add it to my stuff.

My understanding of the ECP system is that the batteries on the cars are charged from Trainline power. if the Locomotive ECP control unit looses comms (Cable break) with the End of Train unit it initiates an emergency application. The emergency transfers through the Brake Pipe front to rear to the cars disconnected from the Train line which sense the Brake pipe drop. Trainline power is turned off after the emergency application,  now Electro - Pneumatic mode with the ECP overlay mentioned above.

If comms can't be restored after a 2 minute period ECP operation cannot be re-applied and, the disconnected cars from the Train line power remain in Emergency unless / until  they sense a full release pressure in the Brake Pipe.

Contrary to comms loss, if a car(s) looses just Trainline power it uses its battery power which when depleted releases the ECP application. This is a function of its own control and one or two cars in the overall consist is not a big issue. If less than 85% (90% depending on operative mode) of cars are above low battery voltage a penalty brake is applied from the locomotive unit.

The 60 minutes discussed above relates to the deactivation of the EOT unit sending communication acknowledgements after loss of Train line power. So this incident doesn't appear as a broken trainline cable but more like a Train line power issue. If a voltage drop after the mid train locomotives was in occurrence then that would / should have been known. Perhaps the gamble was maybe just less than 40 cars out  

I would believe that the train was pulled up by one of these occurrences above and provides an answer to the earlier questions of why it was stopped on this gradient. I would go further and say that the train ended up with an Emergency stop application primarily, post penalty or timed out.

With Train Brake Control now under the control of the Locomotive's brake rack a failure of the Brake Portion CUT OUT valve or erroneous data or similar could have initiated an uncommanded brake pipe charge hence the release.

Just saying.

I disagree that the Rail industry is worse trained than others, training is defined by the technology and how it is sold.  These and similar type problems exist in every other industry reliant or advanced technology. I'm not saying it right just as it is.
iknowstuff
Read KRviators posts. Even dummies like me can understand them.
  M636C Minister for Railways

My understanding of the ECP system is that the batteries on the cars are charged from Trainline power. if the Locomotive ECP control unit looses comms (Cable break) with the End of Train unit it initiates an emergency application. The emergency transfers through the Brake Pipe front to rear to the cars disconnected from the Train line which sense the Brake pipe drop. Trainline power is turned off after the emergency application,  now Electro - Pneumatic mode with the ECP overlay mentioned above.


No

see AAR Standard S-4200, clause 4.3.17
[color=#ec1f26]http://www.spoornet.co.za/Website/tender_pdf/AAR%20Spec%20S-4200.pdf[/color]

If the Locomotive HEU loses communication with the EOT device an ECP Emergency Brake application (120%) is made, both on the part of the train connected to the locomotive and that disconnected from the locomotive.

No air brake application is made, unless the air pipe separates at the same time, in which case an emergency application is made both electronically and pneumatically.

Now, looking at 4.3.17,  if no air brake application is made following the emergency application of the ECP system, the ECP Emergency application is cancelled automatically after one hour and the CCD shuts down to conserve battery power.

If a brake application is made by the driver, the ECP Emergency application does not cancel after one hour on either section of the train.

This has caused some confusion since reference is often made to a train separation when both air and ECP lines are cut together and both systems go into emergency.

It seems clear that neither the driver nor the train controller was aware of the cancellation of the ECP application after one hour.

Peter
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
EP Mode

Thanks for clarifying the radio - wanted to know a bit more detail about it. I'll add it to my stuff.

My understanding of the ECP system is that the batteries on the cars are charged from Trainline power. if the Locomotive ECP control unit looses comms (Cable break) with the End of Train unit it initiates an emergency application.
iknowstuff
An ECP EMERGENCY APPLICATION. NOT A PNEUMATIC EMERGENCY APPLICATION. FML...

The emergency transfers through the Brake Pipe front to rear to the cars disconnected from the Train line which sense the Brake pipe drop.
iknowstuff
WHAT BRAKE PIPE DROP?

Trainline power is turned off after the emergency application,  now Electro - Pneumatic mode with the ECP overlay mentioned above.
iknowstuff
Oh for fuxake - mate, here's a tip. stop digging, or I'm going to start issuing warnings - I don't mind the occaisional inaccuracy, but when you have got absolutely no idea what you are talking about, and attempting to present your information as factual and refusing to listen, even when pointed to the actual AAR ECP standards, I get cranky.

If comms can't be restored after a 2 minute period ECP operation cannot be re-applied and, the disconnected cars from the Train line power remain in Emergency unless / until  they sense a full release pressure in the Brake Pipe.
iknowstuff
Which is there, unless the BP has parted. Cu release after 60 minutes.

Contrary to comms loss, if a car(s) looses just Trainline power it uses its battery power which when depleted releases the ECP application. This is a function of its own control and one or two cars in the overall consist is not a big issue. If less than 85% (90% depending on operative mode) of cars are above low battery voltage a penalty brake is applied from the locomotive unit.
iknowstuff
Well, at least you got this part right...

The 60 minutes discussed above relates to the deactivation of the EOT unit sending communication acknowledgements after loss of Train line power.
iknowstuff
No, it doesn't. It refers to the loss of comm with the HEU.

So this incident doesn't appear as a broken trainline cable but more like a Train line power issue.
iknowstuff
You can happily run ECP with TL Power OFF. I have done it occasionally myself. You do not need trainline power to have operative ECP, though you are now limited to CCD battery power, which will gradually deplete, and those cars will drop offline.

If a voltage drop after the mid train locomotives was in occurrence then that would / should have been known. Perhaps the gamble was maybe just less than 40 cars out.
iknowstuff
Doesn't matter.

I would believe that the train was pulled up by one of these occurrences above and provides an answer to the earlier questions of why it was stopped on this gradient. I would go further and say that the train ended up with an Emergency stop application primarily, post penalty or timed out.
iknowstuff
This makes no sense whatsoever.

With Train Brake Control now under the control of the Locomotive's brake rack a failure of the Brake Portion CUT OUT valve or erroneous data or similar could have initiated an uncommanded brake pipe charge hence the release.
iknowstuff
Doesn't matter, by the sounds of it, ECP never transitioned to cut-out except automatically on the rear portion, so the EAB would have kept the BP charged.

I disagree that the Rail industry is worse trained than others, training is defined by the technology and how it is sold.  These and similar type problems exist in every other industry reliant or advanced technology. I'm not saying it right just as it is.
iknowstuff
IF you're a Driver, you are a classic example of bad training...

You know what? Forget it. Clearly you know more about ECP brakes than those of us who actually work with ECP, its' faults and features on a daily basis, so I'm done.
  42101 A end Junior Train Controller

KR
You just have to love armchair experts mate....thanks for taking the time to explain all of this.
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

ATSB didn't even get sent there, to the crash site.

This wasn't a 1-2 car derailment.

ATSB staff not sent to Pilbara to investigate BHP train crash

I guess the excuses summed up in a short phrase in the article is that it is in the middle of the Australian outback where no one lives, so no one cares. Ignores the fact that a town of about 15000 people is at the end of the line.

Oh well I suppose letting 300,000 people a year into this country (without adequate infrastructure) is more important to the elitists in Canberra.

Daniel
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Cheers, KR. For your detailed and informative response above. Had no idea RE operation of ECP braking and associated quirks.
Now, Iknowstuff, too.

Regards, Mick.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Probably one of the biggest derailments by weight in history and the ATSB doesn't get an invitation?
It really is the wild, Wild West.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
ATSB didn't even get sent there, to the crash site.

This wasn't a 1-2 car derailment.

ATSB staff not sent to Pilbara to investigate BHP train crash

I guess the excuses summed up in a short phrase in the article is that it is in the middle of the Australian outback where no one lives, so no one cares. Ignores the fact that a town of about 15000 people is at the end of the line.

Oh well I suppose letting 300,000 people a year into this country (without adequate infrastructure) is more important to the elitists in Canberra.

Daniel
F4PhantomRAAF

But ONRSR did, and both ONRSR and ATSB have a watching brief on the incident and can take further action if required.

It's not difficult to see why we need elitists in Canberra, when the average Joe thinks they know everything and reputations can be decided via vote on Facebook Razz
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
ATSB didn't even get sent there, to the crash site.

This wasn't a 1-2 car derailment.

ATSB staff not sent to Pilbara to investigate BHP train crash

I guess the excuses summed up in a short phrase in the article is that it is in the middle of the Australian outback where no one lives, so no one cares. Ignores the fact that a town of about 15000 people is at the end of the line.

Oh well I suppose letting 300,000 people a year into this country (without adequate infrastructure) is more important to the elitists in Canberra.

Daniel

But ONRSR did, and both ONRSR and ATSB have a watching brief on the incident and can take further action of required.

It's not difficult to see why we need elitists in Canberra, when the average Joe thinks they know everything and reputations can be decided via vote on Facebook Razz
bingley hall
I would have said 'independents' rather than 'elitists' but when dealing with the BIG AUSTRALIAN ................ perhaps too much to ask.

Little, if anything, to be gained from viewing the wreckage all the same so that was probably a sensible decision.
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

ATSB didn't even get sent there, to the crash site.

This wasn't a 1-2 car derailment.

ATSB staff not sent to Pilbara to investigate BHP train crash

I guess the excuses summed up in a short phrase in the article is that it is in the middle of the Australian outback where no one lives, so no one cares. Ignores the fact that a town of about 15000 people is at the end of the line.

Oh well I suppose letting 300,000 people a year into this country (without adequate infrastructure) is more important to the elitists in Canberra.

Daniel

But ONRSR did, and both ONRSR and ATSB have a watching brief on the incident and can take further action of required.

It's not difficult to see why we need elitists in Canberra, when the average Joe thinks they know everything and reputations can be decided via vote on Facebook Razz
I would have said 'independents' rather than 'elitists' but when dealing with the BIG AUSTRALIAN ................ perhaps too much to ask.

Little, if anything, to be gained from viewing the wreckage all the same so that was probably a sensible decision.
YM-Mundrabilla

Firstly, not all the cars had derailed.
Secondly, several crucial pieces of evidence were available. Of those, were any handbrakes on and were the brakes on?

The middle locomotives were likely still on the rails and intact and if I am not wrong then they would be able to provide a massive amount of evidence through the data logger. And also the current running state. Ok I might be wrong they might also have derailed.

Just because there is wreckage doesn't mean there is nothing to gather.

Daniel
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
ATSB didn't even get sent there, to the crash site.

This wasn't a 1-2 car derailment.

ATSB staff not sent to Pilbara to investigate BHP train crash

I guess the excuses summed up in a short phrase in the article is that it is in the middle of the Australian outback where no one lives, so no one cares. Ignores the fact that a town of about 15000 people is at the end of the line.

Oh well I suppose letting 300,000 people a year into this country (without adequate infrastructure) is more important to the elitists in Canberra.

Daniel

But ONRSR did, and both ONRSR and ATSB have a watching brief on the incident and can take further action of required.

It's not difficult to see why we need elitists in Canberra, when the average Joe thinks they know everything and reputations can be decided via vote on Facebook Razz
I would have said 'independents' rather than 'elitists' but when dealing with the BIG AUSTRALIAN ................ perhaps too much to ask.

Little, if anything, to be gained from viewing the wreckage all the same so that was probably a sensible decision.

Firstly, not all the cars had derailed.
Secondly, several crucial pieces of evidence were available. Of those, were any handbrakes on and were the brakes on?

The middle locomotives were likely still on the rails and intact and if I am not wrong then they would be able to provide a massive amount of evidence through the data logger. And also the current running state. Ok I might be wrong they might also have derailed.

Just because there is wreckage doesn't mean there is nothing to gather.

Daniel
F4PhantomRAAF
I intended to convey physical evidence as distinct from 'black box' data but you are right re handbrake numbers down the train depending on how many wagons were actually destroyed - one could always measure and count brake blocks and heated wheels if people do such mundane things these days!

Why do I have a feeling that before the flying ore had settled that a likely cause had already been tentatively established?
  iknowstuff Station Staff

Thanks M636C for the link, I will look at it.

The information I have is from a relative ECP manual and your explanations helped expand that and my research also.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

What's a relative ECP manual?

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